Canucks show signs of organizational Florence Nightingale effect, re-sign Ebbett, Pinizzotto

A day after the Canucks made a big splash late in unrestricted free agency, snagging hometown blueliner Jason Garrison, they re-found their thriftiness and dove into bargain bin, re-signing forwards Andrew Ebbett and Steven Pinizzotto to two-way deals.

It’s appropriate that the Canucks announced these two signings at the same time. While Ebbett and Pinizzotto are very different players, they both have something important in common.

(No, it’s not surnames littered with double consonants, although there’s that too. Nor is it the fact that their post-signing tweets are almost identical.)

It’s that, thanks to unlucky seasons shortened by upper-body injuries — Ebbett gruesomely broke his clavicle in Boston and Pinizzotto never played a game due to recurring shoulder problems — the free agents had little negotiating power, which meant they could be had on the cheap. After Marco Sturm and Byron Bitz last year and now Ebbett and Pinizzotto, it’s clear that Mike Gillis loves a good bargain (or is a descendant of Florence Nightingale), so these signings were right within his wheelhouse.

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Mike Duco has earned a job with the Canucks; here’s hoping he gets to keep it

Dale Weise’s rookie campaign has to be considered a minor success. Sure, we could dwell on the things that he’s failed to do, such as provide much in the way of energy or offense (apart from a spiffy end-to-end rush versus the Ottawa Senators). And, despite dropping the gloves a handful of times, Weise has been far from the intimidating rat poison the Canucks have needed.

Still, the former Ranger has been quietly effective in his first full season. Despite his inexperience, Weise has done a great job keeping the puck out of his own net and moving it out from the defensive zone, where he starts most of his shifts. As fourth line wingers go, he’s been one of the most competent and defensively sound the Canucks have iced since the lockout. Frankly, his ability to not suck has been a breath of fresh air.

Of course, quiet effectiveness isn’t exactly what you want from your energy guy, and after seeing what Mike Duco has managed to do in that same role, it’s hard to argue that Duco shouldn’t be the new Dale Weise.

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Two players were injured in the Canucks’ preseason game against the San Jose Sharks on September 25, 2011. One has returned to the lineup with gusto, scoring 5 points in 4 games; the other is done for the season. Alain Vigneault confirmed today that Steve Pinizzotto’s season is over before it even began — the rugged winger has undergone shoulder surgery.

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Back in July, there was a rumour that the Canucks had signed hulking winger Brad Winchester to patrol their fourth line. As time passed with no official announcement, it seemed the rumours were all smoke, no fire. But those rumours have been re-sparked thanks to Brad Winchester skating with the Canucks in an informal practice today, although he wore Ducks gear and could not comment on the possibility of signing with the Canucks.

So is Brad Winchester the kind of player the Canucks want in the line-up? It seems that the answer is yes, as they have brought in similar big-bodied fourth-liners this summer in Byron Bitz and Mark Mancari, though Mancari is not as physical. They also signed other, slightly smaller forwards with a tendency towards punching, like Steve Pinizzotto and former Twitter aficionado Mike Duco, as well as inviting Steve Begin and Todd Fedoruk to camp on professional tryout contracts. Even Owen Nolan is likely more suited for fourth-line duty at this point in his career.

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